The JD was a nice bonus, but UB School of Law holds a special place in the hearts of those who found the love of their life there. And since February is all about celebrating love, we checked in with some UB Law couples—some more recently matched and some long married—to share their stories about their law school connection.
It was in their second year that Kimberly (Copeland) Sheehan ’84 and Timothy Sheehan ’84 crossed paths in Professor Isabel Marcus’ Family Law class. Tim was answering a question from the professor, and something about the boldness of his response caught Kim’s attention. “I must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, and I ended up challenging the professor,” said Tim, a partner with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP in White Plains, N.Y. “As it turned out, it paid dividends for me down the road.”
Later on, he was tabling in the hallway for BRC, a bar review course provider, and Kim—who’s now of counsel with Peirce & Salvato PLLC in White Plains—struck up a conversation. He told his boss that she might be a customer, and the boss approached her in the law library. “Tim Sheehan told me you’re interested in taking a BRC course,” he said. No, she said: “I’m not interested in taking a BRC course, I’m interested in Tim Sheehan!”
They started dating and also ended up as moot court teammates, representing UB Law in the Samuel Polsky Moot Court Competition at Temple University in Philadelphia.
They made it to the semifinals and the chemistry was clear. Not long after, he proposed.
It was also a hallway encounter that struck a spark for Melissa (Hancock) Nickson ’97 and Christopher Nickson ’98.
Melissa, who now administers the civil ADR program for the 8th Judicial District, was working with UB’s Methods of Inquiry program, mentoring other students in study techniques. She’d set up a table in the academic spine to meet with her mentees—a table that Chris would pass every day on his way to lunch.
“One day I got up the courage to talk to her,” he says. “ ‘I see you out here all the time, what are you up to?’ ” She told him. And in the days that followed, if she didn’t have a student in front of her, he’d chat with her some more.
The deadline for a writing seminar project was coming up, and the 1Ls needed partners. “I decided it was a good idea to ask Melissa to be my partner,” says Chris, a vice president and senior consultant at Segal, a benefits, compensation and investment counseling firm in Buffalo. “But I will confess that I had other intentions.”
The deal was sealed on a Wednesday. Thursday they met at Pizzeria Uno—“ostensibly to discuss our strategy,” Chris says—but they ended up talking long into the night. Their first date was that Saturday, a concert at Nietzsche’s.
They dated through the rest of law school; Chris had an additional year because he transitioned to the joint JD/MBA program. It became their tradition each year to host a New Year’s Eve bash. At midnight on the cusp of 1997, he asked her to be his permanent partner, and this year they’ll celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
A chivalrous gesture at a gas pump was enough to get romance rolling for Kevin Lelonek ’16 and Anaiss (Rijo) Lelonek ’16.
They were on the way to New Jersey for the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition; he was competing and she was a coach, having competed the previous year. The UB Law teams were in two rented minivans, with Kevin in one and Ana in the other. When they stopped for gas, Kevin hopped out to brave the cold and insisted on pumping the gas. “You’re such a gentleman,” she said.
Their first date came not long afterward, a Valentine’s Day dinner in their 3L year at the Italian Village, and they’ve been sharing dinners ever since. After graduation, Ana, a New York City native, landed a legal job in Buffalo, so she and Kevin, now an associate attorney at Gross Shuman, P.C., could be together. But their plans for a big wedding in April 2020 were derailed by the pandemic. Finally, later that fall when Ana’s parents were in town, they were married in the Delaware Park Rose Garden—an event they planned in the space of a month.
Ana has been on maternity leave from her role as an attorney at the Erie County Department of Social Services, where she handles child abuse and neglect cases. Their daughter, April, was born in October of last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic made law school tricky for a while, but for Canio Marasco ’22 and Adriana Argento ’22, distance made the heart grow fonder.
Their first semester as classmates was in person. “I spent most of that semester just staring at Adriana in class,” says Canio, an associate attorney at Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer & Monte, P.C. in Buffalo. Then the school transitioned to online instruction, and he was reduced to, well, staring at her on Zoom. “I never really had the nerve to approach her,” he says.
But fate sometimes intervenes, in their case in the form of an internship they both had, in their 1L summer, at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Buffalo. “That’s really when our relationship began,” says Adriana, now an associate attorney at Brown Chiari LLP. “All of the interns were in the same room, all day, every day, working across from each other.”
Eventually, they shared a lunch break and walked down to Canalside, where they picked up lunch and sat on the big rocks near the marina, looking at the water and talking.
It was there on those rocks that he later proposed. The wedding is planned for Sept. 30.
Adriana: “We do owe it all to the law school.”
Canio: “If we hadn’t gone to UB Law, our paths would never have crossed.”